Homemade gifts are special because they're personal and come right from the heart. And what's better than a food gift? Everyone loves gifts you can eat (there's no explanation needed as to why!). Putting together a homemade food gift can be as easy as mixing together a few pantry staples, like our homemade holiday pancake mix or hot chocolate mix. The recipient only needs to add the rest of the ingredients to complete the recipe. Other gifts can be used right away during the holidays or after, like our vanilla sugar or breakfast granola.
Once you've made all your batches of gifts, make sure to package them beautifully. You'll need jars, tins, or boxes. Then just finish it off with a ribbon or bow. Don't forget to include instructions for finishing the recipe or for using the gift. (Packaging materials are available widely in housewares stores and online. We love The Container Store for these items.)
Browse through our gallery of homemade gifts, filled with sweet and savory items that are simple to make. Any of them would make a terrific gift for family, friends or neighbors. They also make nice hostess gifts to bring along to holiday parties. Happy holidays!
So what homemade gift will you be giving this holiday? Let us know in the comments.
Yes, vanilla beans are expensive, but you only need one to infuse an entire jar of granulated sugar with wonderful vanilla aroma and flavor. The sugar is great for using during the holidays (add it to coffee, tea, hot cider) and beyond (it's great for baking). Vanilla sugar makes a great gift.
To make vanilla sugar, add 1 vanilla bean (whole or scraped of its seeds) to a jar with 2 cups of granulated sugar. Let infuse for 1 to 2 weeks before using.
Hot cocoa from the can or packet (sigh!) is fine. But cocoa powder that you've jazzed up yourself with spices is even better. Try this amazing combination. It includes coarsely chopped chocolate, cocoa, a little instant coffee powder and cinnamon. Package in a canister and tie with a ribbon. This holiday gift will keep on giving throughout the winter months.
Get the Hot Cocoa Mix recipe
Homemade pancakes are always better when they're made from scratch, but the convenience of a boxed mix is still so appealing. So why not make your own? It makes a great gift for the holidays too (Christmas morning would't be complete without pancakes!). This recipe includes dried blueberries and toasted pecans. You can vary the recipe by using raisins, dried cranberries or walnuts.
Get the Blueberry-Pecan Pancake Mix recipe
After the holidays everyone will be making resolutions to cut down on hearty foods. So why not help someone along by presenting them with a gift of homemade granola? Just combine their favorite dried fruits and nuts with oats and toast in the oven. Let the mixture cool and package in jars. The following recipe features pecans, almonds and dried cranberries.
Get the Maple-Pecan Granola with Dried Fruit recipe
The winter months are when citrus fruits are at their seasonal peak. Capture the essence and flavor of lemons in this recipe for lemon curd. It makes a great gift for lemon lovers, who can it in baked goods such as tarts or just simply spread on toast.
Get the Lemon Curd recipe
A tea blend personalized for a recipient makes a truly nice gift that will last a long time. Choose teas and spices that you know your recipient will love. Package the tea in a metal canister and be sure to label it with the flavor combination. You can also package the tea in individual sachets if you so choose.
Learn how to make homemade tea blends
Any chile head will appreciate a gift of homemade hot sauce. This recipe uses hot habaneros. You can control the heat by adding more habaneros or an even hotter chile of your choice. Let the hot sauce cool before packaging in small jars or bottles.
Get the Homemade Hot Sauce recipe
Flavored with warm spices, ginger, garlic and chile, this mango chutney is a lively condiment that you can be used as a topping for meat or fish. It's also delicious served alongside a holiday turkey, goose or rib roast. Packaged in small jars, it makes a terrific holiday gift.
Get the Mango Chutney recipe
Make your own mulling mix to give as gifts. Combine any number of warm spices and dried fruit to create a mix you can use with cider or wine (star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and dried orange peel are a classic combination). Use the recipes below as a guide for the correct quantities. Package the mix in a jar and label it with the recipe.
Olives are always good to have on hand for an impromptu party when people stop by unexpectedly (many happen during the holidays). Make a jar of marinated olives to have on hand or to give as a hostess gift. Combine any type of olives (green or black) with a marinade of olive oil flavored with garlic, citrus zest and dried herbs or spices.
Get the Marinated Olives recipe
Learn how to make homemade Nutella to give as a gift.